Posted On 29 Jun 2017
Get to know the Seattle-based rock outfit Vespera, formed by Jonathan Wolfe (best known for his previous affiliation with Slaves and Falling In Reverse).
The band recently premiered their music video for “Bloom” on Billboard. The video features America’s Next Top Model winner Jourdan Miller.
Vespera will be releasing a debut full-length album “The Thoughts That Plague You” later this year. The record was produced by long-time friend Taylor Larson (Periphery, Darkest Hour).
Learn more about Vespera in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! What are some words you would use to describe 2016? What were some of the highlights for the band? What are you all most excited about for 2017?
Between 2016 and 2017, I would say it was most definitely a time of reflection, cultivation, edification, and acquisition. So much has taken place in such little time. I flew into Bethesda, MD to start the record in early July 2016 without a band. By November 21st 2016, I had full a line up with dudes I barely knew. We got together on the 22nd of November, rehearsed for a whole week, and then filmed six music videos the following week. We didn’t even have a band name at the time. At this point, we’ve transitioned from strangers to brothers and we’re genuinely excited to just move forward. 2017 is going to be a year of acquisition, execution, and growth. We’re taking the proper steps to ensure that 2018 is our proper year to shine.
How did Vespera first form? How did you come up with your band name? What other names were you considering?
The genesis of Vespera took place at my apartment in North Seattle. I had a small home studio where I would sit down and experiment with different genres and sounds until I finally settled on something I felt good about. When I first started writing the music, I was planning on calling the band “Flightrisk,” but after a little bit of research, I realized that wouldn’t be possible. I wanted to have something unique that would stand out from the norm. I held off on finding a new moniker until I had a complete line up. I might have written the music on my own, but I wanted to make our identity, which is such an important decision, a collaborative effort. After several months and over hundreds of ideas, we were all playing around with the word “Vesper” in different combinations. Finally, Schwartz just added an “A” to the end, and we all immediately gave it the thumbs up.
Let’s talk about your latest single and video for “Bloom.” Where did the inspiration for this track come from? How creatively involved were you all with the making of the video? How did America’s Next Top Model winner, Jourdan Miller, get to be a part of it?
“Bloom” was inspired by personal events in both of our lives, I actually wrote the treatment and story line for the video. Jourdan sat with me in the very same studio I wrote a majority of the album in. As I was putting together the story line, she’d throw in some great ideas as well. It only made sense to include her in a song that’s dedicated towards our relationship. It’s safe to say that we will always be incredibly involved in the every music video we put together because it’s a very fun creative outlet for us.
Later this year, you will be releasing your debut full-length album called “The Thoughts That Plague You.” What was it like putting this collection together? Did anything surprise you all about the process?
This whole process has honestly been beyond surreal for me. I didn’t expect to have another opportunity to do music, especially at this scale. Everyday, I wake up grateful to have the opportunity. I feel fortunate to be working towards the one dream I’ve held onto since I was three years old. I’m beyond content and I cannot wait to see what else will manifest itself in the years to come.
How do you all keep up with your social media pages? Have you been able to connect with a lot of new and old fans that way?
I’d be lying if I said it was easy. There is so much happening around me that keeping up with all of the social media has been tough. I can actually understand why some artists choose to have social media managers, but I am genuinely going to try my hardest to keep track of everything. It inspires me and brings me great joy when I get to communicate with my own fans and friends. I’ve made a conscious effort to stay in touch with fans since early on in my career.
There are some fans of Vespera that have been following my endeavors since I first started doing music at a professional standard over a decade ago. Some of these fans have truly seen my growth, and those are the people I hold extremely close. Fans can be very conditional, so I have quite a deep appreciation for those that have stuck with me through all these years. This is exactly why I continue to try my hardest to keep in touch with everyone and communicate with fans whenever possible.
Who are you all listening to these days? What artists have continued to inspire you and your music? Who would you absolutely love to work with in the future?
I’ve been listening to quite a lot of music lately. I was just showing Cairn how amazing of a singer Chucho Valdez is. I recently dove back into The Beatles’ “Revolver” and “Rubber Soul” records. Polyenso has two amazing records. Celebrity’s “Lovesick” and “Mining For Twilight” have been on repeat. I’ve also been listening to Pg. Lost, Cave In, LOTS of Sigur Ros, Northlane’s “Mesmer” album, and a few others. My friends in Eyes Set to Kill and Envy On The Coast will also have some amazing music coming out this year that I’ve been listening to quite a bit.
Unfortunately, many of my inspirations are no longer with us, but I hope that some day I can sit down with individuals such as Paul McCartney, Maynard James Keenan, Eddie Vedder, Adam Jones, Dustin Kensrue, and Imogen Heap. I feel as if there is so much I can learn from such talented people, and I would imagine that simply sitting down with them and talking for hours would be an experience on its own.
At the end of the day, what do you hope your fans take away from your music? What do you hope is the message of your songs?
At the end of the day, I hope people understand that we have genuine and selfless endeavors in our music. I want Vespera to be a conduit for people who are enduring trying and troubling times. I just want people to know that it’s okay to feel the way that they do. Everyone has bad days, and sometimes we have bad years. We just have to wake up every single day more willing than the last to make our lives better. We should always default towards kindness and compassion. If someone comes up to me and lets me know that our music helped them get through certain issues, then I will feel content in what I do. Vespera isn’t supposed to be a pulpit of selfishness. I want us to become a healing tool for those who feel voiceless and ostracized in their communities.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about yourselves and your music?
Absolutely. I want our readers to understand that this band is very dependent of its own community. We are purposely choosing to not sign to a label. We want this to be a band of the people and for the people. That means that the efforts our fans put into us will dictate the direction we head in. We don’t care to have any fair weather fans or inflated numbers. Of course we want this band to continue growing so that we can reach out to more people going through the same struggles and strife, but I want to do so with a welcoming community that genuinely cares about each other. We’re so excited to be here, and we cannot wait to make a positive impact.